Category Archives: Roman Catholic Church
One of the most perverted, murderous, butchers of all the christian religious sects. Responsible for the mass murder of millions of innocent people during the Inquisitions, the slaughter of Native Americans and of course, the pervert priests who rape children and their bishops and pope who cover their asses and cover this up.
Shefford boys’ home abuse inquiry: Man, 77, arrested
10 December 2013 Last updated at 12:22 ET
From the link: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-25319640
A 77-year-old man from Norfolk has been arrested on suspicion of historical physical and sexual abuse after complaints about staff at a former Catholic boys’ home in Bedfordshire.
The man, from Thetford, was interviewed and bailed at part of an investigation into Shefford St Francis Boys Home.
Police said the claims relate to four alleged victims.
The home, which was run by the Northampton diocese of the Catholic church, closed in the mid 1970s.
In May Bedfordshire Police revealed an investigation had started into abuse allegations at the home dating back to the 1950s and 1960s.
But last month police said the case had been closed as officers had been unable to find anyone alive to prosecute.
Earlier this month the BBC revealed detectives had received new information from an ex-resident.
The BBC has talked to former residents of the home who allege they were physically and/or sexually abused at the orphanage.
At the start of November, police said officers had investigated abuse allegations made by 28 ex-residents but had decided to close the case.
Police said the suspects included one priest (believed to be Father John Ryan, who ran the home in the 1960s), and four nuns, who “were found to have died”, and two other suspects who could not be located.
Following the closure of the case the BBC sought more information on the investigation but this was refused on the grounds that “further evidence has come to light”.
The Northampton Diocese of the Catholic Church, which ran the home, has said it “deeply regretted” any hurt caused, but has stressed the “claims are not proven”.
St Francis Boys’ Home abuse inquiry: Police identify new suspect
10 October 2014 Last updated at 20:19 ET
From the link: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-29510201
The senior investigator looking into claims of physical and sexual abuse at a former Catholic orphanage says a new suspect has been identified.
Retired detective chief inspector Mark Ross has been brought back to head up an inquiry into abuse at the St Francis Boys Home in Shefford, Bedfordshire.
The abuse took place between the late 1940s and the early 1970s.
Mr Ross said 80 “potential victims” had been identified and 35 statements taken in a worldwide investigation.
Police have already interviewed two suspects.
“Each week, we are identifying more victims,” said Mr Ross.
“If they are still alive they should be brought to justice. These victims have been battling for justice for years.
“We have found another suspect and are making inquiries as to whether this person is alive.
“Victims we have already been in contact with are in Australia and America and we have been taking statements.
“We have assigned two of our team to go to Europe to talk to a UK citizen about the potential suspect.”
He added: “Obviously we are dealing with some horrendous cases. Certainly both the physical and sexual abuse has been quite horrendous.
“What happened to them as youngsters has affected their entire lives. Some have been incapable of having relationships because of the abuse.”
Mr Ross, who spent 30 years in the force before his retirement, said he was “pleased and honoured” to be leading the inquiry.
The BBC has spoken to former residents of the home who allege they were physically and/or sexually abused at the orphanage, run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Northampton.
Many have said they were abused by priest Father John Ryan, who ran the home in the 1960s and died in 2008.
Others say they were abused by Fr Wilfred Johnson, who ran the home between 1945 and 1954 and died in 1994.
The Diocese of Northampton has said it “deeply regrets” any hurt caused but stressed the “claims are not proven”.
Inaction on priest’s alleged sex abuse of orphans at issue
Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, 10:20 p.m
It began one day in 2009 with a fight among a group of boys — orphans, all of them — from the toughest, poorest streets of Honduras.
They argued about a priest, a pudgy, bespectacled older man from America who showed up now and then with gifts — offerings of cash and candy that carried a hefty price, according to Department of Homeland Security records.
Sometimes they paid by having sex with the man, records show. Other times, they showered nude, urinated or performed sex acts while he watched or took photos, records indicate.
But on that day when the boys argued about acquiescing to the Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio Jr.’s demands, an orphanage worker overheard the conversation and reported it, court records show.
Not long after, officials from the foundation running the orphanage traveled to Western Pennsylvania to report the boys’ allegations to the priest’s superiors at the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, the state Attorney General’s Office and the FBI, according to records.
But four years later, Maurizio was traveling to other orphanages, so a frustrated official sent an email about the allegations to a website, bishop-accountability.org, dedicated to tracking sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.
Nine months later, federal agents swarmed Maurizio’s church in Central City, Somerset County, and the Windber farm handed down from his parents, Italian immigrants who raised five children on a coal miner’s wages.
Agents confiscated four computers, hundreds of CDs, VHS tapes, thumb drives and a loose hard drive.
Two weeks later, Maurizio, 69, was arrested, charged with exploiting children at the orphanage — allegations he said were concocted when his private foundation, Humanitarian Interfaith Ministries Inc., withdrew funding for the orphanage.
“Father Joe has maintained his innocence from the very beginning,” said his attorney, Steven Passarello. “He intends on fighting these charges.”
Local supporters stand behind the man they say started a thrift store, supplies a food pantry and is first on the scene when a family is in crisis.
“Father would do anything for anybody,” said Jane Skone, a parishioner of his Our Lady Queen of Angels Church.
Maurizio remains jailed, suspended by the diocese.
And questions linger about why church officials did not act on the allegations, and why it took five years for authorities to bring charges.
When Maurizio moved to the Central City parish in 2003 from other assignments in the diocese, he had been visiting the Honduran orphanage for about four years, court records show.
Church bulletin items invited parishioners to accompany him to the orphanage in El Progreso, an agricultural city of 147,000 in northwestern Honduras viewed as a pass-through to the capital of Tegucigalpa.
At the orphanage, they could see boys learning skilled trades and how to read, write and manage money — useful tools in a nation stymied by an unskilled workforce and still rebuilding from a 1998 hurricane that killed nearly 6,000.
Those volunteers who could afford $500 to $1,100 for the trip could “help save some of the poor little orphaned and abandoned children who live on the streets of Honduras,” Maurizio said.
He spoke passionately about the children left parentless in the impoverished nation of 8.5 million, often a result of crime in the country that the CIA cites as having the highest homicide rate in the world.
Other bulletin entries asked parishioners to donate money to sponsor one of the orphanage’s 80 children living in dormitory-style buildings.
In 2006, Maurizio formed the nonprofit Humanitarian Interfaith Ministries, records show.
Adept at fundraising, he cobbled together money from large national organizations and small offerings from parishioners, records show.
With the help of organizations such as the Knights of Columbus of Pennsylvania, contributions grew from $23,000 in the foundation’s first year to $112,613 in 2012, when he listed net assets of more than $400,000, according to Internal Revenue Service filings.
Since his arrest, Knights of Columbus officials have said they are withdrawing their support and are “horrified” by the charges.
The foundation’s support accounted for 50 percent of the Honduran orphanage’s funding, according to Kevin Cestra, spokesman for ProNino USA, the Virginia-based nonprofit that operates the orphanage.
When ProNino officials confronted Maurizio with the boys’ allegations, funding became an issue.
“He threatened to cut off our funding if we made this public,” Cestra said.
But a former ProNino official said the group’s primary concern was the children.
“The first issue was protecting the children we support,” said Stephen Beer, a former ProNino USA board member.
What happened in the five years since the boys’ allegations were reported to the diocese, the state attorney general and the FBI remains somewhat murky — blurred by passing time, a lack of any public records of the report, changes in leadership at the state and diocese and the secrecy of the ongoing federal probe.
When reached by phone, retired Bishop Emeritus Joseph V. Adamec, who served the diocese when the allegations surfaced in 2009, said only: “If you want any information, you need to call the bishop’s office. They will have all the records.”
Diocese spokesman Tony DeGol did not return phone calls or an email.
Bishop Mark L. Bartchak, serving since 2011, told Our Lady Queen of Angels parishioners last week that he is not permitted to speak about the case.
“I don’t have words adequate to console you,” Bartchak said.
But Anne Barrette Doyle, co-director of bishop-accountability.org, described the diocese’s failure to act as “improper and irresponsible.”
D.J. Bragonier, a member of the diocese’s Allegation Review Board since 2001, said he was never told of the allegations.
Attempts to trace a report through state channels were fruitless.
Gov. Tom Corbett was attorney general in 2009. Corbett spokesman Jay Pagni said he found no one in the Corbett administration who knew about the case.
J.J. Abbott, spokesman for Attorney General Kathleen Kane, said the office has no record of a complaint.
The FBI initiated an investigation, which Homeland Security took over, when the unidentified board member contacted Doyle’s website, according to the complaint.
“We really have been working with HSI all along on this investigation, and we are continuing to work with them,” said Greg Heeb, spokesman for the FBI’s Pittsburgh office. “They have some investigative tools available to them to do certain things we couldn’t get accomplished.” He would not offer specifics.
Kenneth V. Lanning, a retired FBI agent and expert on sexual abuse crimes against children, said child sex abuse allegations against otherwise reputable individuals are difficult to piece together.
“You don’t want to move in until you have a strong case,” Lanning said.
The case might have been handed off to Homeland Security because the agency has authority to search individuals at border crossings, he said.
Maurizio took a two-year break from foreign travel after the allegations were made, according to records. He began traveling again in 2011, making 10 trips to Central American countries.
On one trip, Homeland Security arranged for Maurizio to be stopped so agents at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport could review images on a camera and other electronic devices, but nothing turned up, records show.
Maurizio remains in Cambria County Prison. A federal magistrate deemed he is a flight risk.
11 nuns sexually abused at least 95 kids from Montana reservation, lawsuit claims
Nearly a dozen Catholic nuns sexually abused at least 95 students at boarding and day schools run by the Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province, according to a lawsuit scheduled for trial later this year.
The suit — which was filed in 2011 in Lewis and Clark County, Montana – lists 95 plaintiffs but includes placeholders for up to 105 potential victims, reported the Global Sisters Report.
The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 1, and the plaintiffs’ attorneys will attempt to prove 11 nuns who served from the 1940s to 1970s at St. Ignatius Mission School physically, sexually, and emotionally abused students from the Flathead Indian Reservation.
“It affected a whole generation of Native American kids,” said Vito de la Cruz, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
About 5,000 U.S. priests and deacons have been accused of sexual abuse in cases dating to the 1950s, but only an estimated 88 other female religious figures have been accused of abuse, according to the online database Bishopaccountability.org.
The database shows about 400 alleged victims of female religious figures, not including the Montana case.
Only two of the accused women have been convicted of criminal charges, although dozens of them have been named in civil suits.
The Diocese of Helena, which is named in the suit, previously settled a separate suit that alleged church officials covered up abuse by its priests.
The diocese agreed to pay $15 million in compensation and at least $2.5 million for future claims, and it has since declared bankruptcy.
Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to Pay for Failure to Report Abuse
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League states the following: Crimes of a sexual nature need not be reported to the police, just the legal department
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League states the following: Crimes of a sexual nature need not be reported to the police, just the legal department
Bill Donohue is at it again, defending the indefensible and claiming that crimes of a sexual nature need not be reported to the police, just the legal department. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Bill Donohue will willing violate FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS that say YOU MUST report these crimes to the police. In his latest diatribe in defense of Lafayette Bishop Michael Jarrell for not publishing the names of priests accused of a sexual offense in The Advertiser on August 23, 2014. This is the article:
Kudos to Lafayette Bishop Michael Jarrell for not publishing the names of priests accused of a sexual offense. His decision is identical to the one that the leaders of every other institution, public and private, have long come to: It is unethical to do so. Why should the Catholic Church be any different?
A reporter came to my office a few years ago asking me about this issue. Specifically, she asked how I could defend a bishop for not posting the names of accused priests on his diocesan website. I immediately asked for her boss’ name and phone number. She wanted to know why. “Because I am going to report you for sexually harassing me, and then I want to see if your name is going to be posted on the website of your cable news employer.”
She got the point.
I am the CEO of the Catholic League. If someone called me making an accusation against one of my staff members, I can assure you I would not call the cops. No employer would. I would do the same as everyone else: I would conduct my own internal investigation, and would only go to the authorities if I thought the charge was authentic.
There is a profound difference among an accusation, a credible accusation, a substantiated accusation and a finding of guilt. The assumption behind all three levels of accusations is that the accused is innocent, yet this seems not to matter much anymore, especially when the accused is a priest.
The leader of a professional victims’ group maintains that we need to know the names of the credibly accused priests in Lafayette so that parents can protect their children. Nonsense.
Of the 15 priests, seven are dead, five have moved away, and three are retired. None is in ministry. Moreover, all the accusations stem from alleged offenses dating back prior to 1984. In short, it is more than hype to suggest that kids are in danger — it is expressly demagogic, designed to whip up public sentiment against priests.
What is really sickening about this issue is that so many decent and innocent priests have had their reputations ruined by vicious accusers who remain anonymous. No one demands that we make public the names of the accusers, but somehow we are all supposed to know the identity of the accused.
Correction: Only when it comes to priests are demands made to publish the names of the accused.
The New York Times has a business ethics policy that reads, “Any employee who becomes aware of any conduct that he or she believes to be prohibited by this Policy or a violation of the law … is expected to promptly report the facts forming the basis of that belief or knowledge to any supervisor of the legal department.”
In other words, crimes of a sexual nature need not be reported to the police, just the legal department. If this policy is good for reporters, why isn’t it good for bishops? The best part of the Times’ policy says that those who make false accusations are subject “to discipline up to and including termination.” The bishops should adopt this policy immediately.
I am so proud of Bishop Jarrell for acting fairly and courageously.
— Bill Donohue is the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League again shoves his foot so far down his throat, he can wiggle his toes out his bunghole to say hi
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League again shoves his foot so far down his throat, he can wiggle his toes out his bunghole to say hi
Why yes, Billy Bob sure does love defending the indefensible, shoving his foot so far down his throat this time, that he can wiggle his toes out of his bunghole and say hi….and also proves once again, by his posting
ARCHBISHOP CARLSON HAS BEEN FRAMED
Catalyst July/August Issue 2014
According to attorney Jeffrey Anderson, Commonweal, and other media outlets, the transcript of the exchange between Anderson and Archbishop Carlson revealed that the archbishop did not know it was a crime for an adult to have sex with a child. They are all wrong.
Prior to the controversial exchange (which began with a question regarding mandatory reporting laws—see pp. 108-09 of the transcript), Anderson asked Carlson several questions about Tom Adamson (a homosexual priest who had sex with teenage males). Carlson said, “I remember he was accused of sexual abuse. That’s the trial I participated in.” (See p. 34.) Having said as much, it is simply impossible to believe that Carlson did not know it was against the law for an adult to have sex with a minor.
Anderson also asked, “And you also knew when first degree criminal sexual conduct is written and recorded, that is the most serious of the sex crimes against a child. You know that?” To which Carlson said, “Correct.” (See pp. 98-99.) This is further proof that Carlson knew what the law was; this was also said prior to the controversial exchange.
After the exchange in question, Anderson asked Carlson, “But you knew a priest touching the genitals of a kid to be a crime; did you not?” Carlson answered, “Yes.” (See p. 145.)
Further exculpatory proof can be found on pp. 17, 23, 34, 74, 113, 114, 115, and 132. On eight different occasions Carlson restated to Anderson that he told relatives of the victims to go to the police. He wouldn’t have done so unless he knew a crime may have been committed.
From Bill’s own piehole:
“Having said as much, it is simply impossible to believe that Carlson did not know it was against the law for an adult to have sex with a minor.”
But Billy Bob…that is exactly what he said you douchebag:
Anderson: “Archbishop, you knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid.”
Carlson: “I’m not sure I knew whether it was a crime or not. I understand today it’s a crime.”
Anderson: “When did you first discern it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid?”
Carlson: “I don’t remember.”
Anderson: “When did you first discern that it was a crime for a priest to engage in sex with a kid who he had under his control?”
Carlson: “I don’t remember that either.”
Anderson: “Do you have any doubt in your mind that you knew that in the ’70s?”
Carlson: “I don’t remember if I did or didn’t.”
Anderson: “In 1984, you are a bishop, an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. You knew it was a crime then, right?”
Carlson: “I’m not sure if I did or didn’t.”
AGAIN BILLY BOB, THANK YOU FOR PROVING WHAT A COMPLETE AND UTTER DOUCHEBAG YOU ARE AND PROVING THE FACTS THAT ARCHBISHOP ROBERT CARLSON IS A FREAKING TWO FACED LIAR AND A PEDOPHILE PIMP FOR COVERING UP THE RAPISTS OF CHILDREN.
BROTHERS FROM HELL; 10 former Artane Boys Tell of Broken Legs, Torture and Sex Abuse.
The Mirror (UK) September 23, 1999
TODAY 10 former Artane boys tell JILLY BEATTIE their stories of life at the notorious Industrial School.
Six of them have made allegations to the Gardai as part of Ireland’s biggest child abuse investigation in which 40 Christian Brothers Christian Brothers: see John Baptist de la Salle, Saint. have been named and accused. The other four intend to do the same.
They all say their lives have been destroyed by their experiences under the guardianship of the Brothers at Artane, citing relationship breakdowns, unemployment and clinical depression as some of the problems they have had.
Two of the survivors never married, the marriages of seven broke down and one is still married.
Of the eight who did marry, only two told their wives about the abuse they suffered, and none of their children knows about their past life in Artane.
All the fathers say they have difficult relationships with their children.
Four have tried to commit suicide, four are long-term unemployed and all 10 are currently receiving counselling.
These survivors are among 250 men seeking justice for the sexual, physical and emotional abuse they claim they suffered at Artane at the hands of Christian Brothers.
In care from eight months after being conceived outside marriage
I WAS beaten and raped by nine different Brothers.
Joseph O’Connor dragged me to his room and he threw sweets on the floor. When I bent to pick them up he pulled my trousers down and thrashed me with the leather cosh.
I squealed and screamed and he kept on hitting me, all over my body and head. I suppose he stopped hitting me when I passed out.
My mother came to see me during that time and she was told I was being treated for TB and couldn’t be seen.
I still wake up screaming in the night, convinced a Brother is trying to get me, trying to drag me away.
The Christian Brothers have to pay for what they did to us as boys.
They have apologised to anyone who was hurt while at Artane but that’s not enough to let me get on with my life.
Sent to Atane with his brother for mitching school
THE day Artane burned down I thanked God. I prayed that all the Brothers who hurt me had died but most of those b*****ds are still alive.
I suffered all sorts of abuse. Most of it I still cannot talk about.
They raped me, they beat me, they humiliated me.
Sometimes when you turned up they would be abusing some other boy and you would have to watch or join in.
We were made to crawl on our hands and knees while the other boys were forced to hit you. If they didn’t hit you, they had to get down and start crawling too.
Artane was a concentration camp. Anything we arrived with was taken away from us – clothes, shoes, love, good memories, happiness and trust.
Sent to Atane for the theft of an overcoat
I WAS a tearaway as a child and eventually the Guards got sick of hauling me up and I was put into Artane.
I ran away three times after being beaten but the Guards brought me back.
After the first time I was beaten around the dormitory. I had my two front teeth knocked out and my wrist was broken.
Then I had to sit in agony as the barber – one of the boys – shaved my head for running away.
Anyone found talking to me was beaten.
I know there were boys raped and interfered with in Artane, but I never was.
The Brothers picked their victims well and chose the most vulnerable.
When I was older they used me to abuse the younger boys. They made me a monitor and I used to beat the boys too.
The Brothers were evil. They enjoyed the violence they meted out. Their favourite weapons were fear and the leather strap.
Sent to Artane for mitching school
I WAS always a quiet child and was labelled stupid because I had dyslexia
I used to mitch school because I was teased. Then I was sent to Artane.
It was the worst thing anyone could have done to me. I was the perfect victim of the abuse the Brothers favoured. I spoke to no-one.
I was raped three months after I was moved to Artane and used by three particular Brothers, one of whom, Brother O’Connor, is dead.
I was like a rag doll. They threw me about the place. I was b*****ed, forced to touch the Brothers, masturbate them and have oral sex.
When I was sick I was beaten and kicked. The sexual abuse was indescribable, but it was worse when it was coupled with physical abuse. I ended up in the infirmary seven times during my three years there.
My wife knows – but I still find it hard to hug and love her. No-one deserved what we got.
In care from three years after mother deemed unfit unfit to look after him
I HAD no-one to turn to when I needed to get away from Artane. I was put in there because the authorities said my mother couldn’t look after me and my brothers.
I was b*****ed 18 times in Artane and beaten probably every day I was there.
In the summer when some of the other boys had gone to foster families, I was left with the others and that’s when I suffered most abuse.
One night I was made to strip before I was hit and a Brother stood on my hands so I couldn’t move. The beating was started by one Brother and finished by another.
O’Connor was a depraved de·praved b*****d. He was at Artane from 1930 and he did everything he could to inflict as much pain as he could on the boys.
He ran the band and even appeared on an RTE programme dedicated to his so-called good work. That bastard sat and smiled his way through it. I dread to think how many boys’ lives he ruined. He destroyed me.
Sent to Atane with his brother for mitching school
I HAD both my arms broken by a Brother.
I still don’t know Don’t know what I did wrong but I was told not to be bold or I would suffer for it.
Then he lashed into me, I was 11. He hit me with the leather strap, then he started punching and kicking me.
I fell to the floor and he kicked me with his boots. I stopped screaming and he kept hitting me for a bit. Then he told me to pray for forgiveness.
He told me I was bad and would have to ask Jesus to stop me being bad. Two boys took me to the infirmary.
On the way another Brother said I should never be bold because God can see everything. I was terrified
If the Brothers did this to me, what would God do?
Put in care after the death of his mother and suicide of his father
I WAS separated from my brothers and sisters and sent to Artane.
Joseph O’Connor met me at Connolly Station and pushed me into a car. He ran the band and when I said I’d never been interested in music he stopped the car, dragged me out and thrashed me.
When I arrived at the school it was four days before Christmas. One of the boys in my dormitory told me we would be safe for the day. I later realised this meant that we were less likely to be sexually abused on December 25.
Joe Boy O’Connor was an evil bastard. He never raped me but he beat me until I fainted one day. When I woke up I was in the infirmary.
One day I was flogged by another Brother and made to wear a singlet which had been soaked in salt water. I believe it was to literally add salt to my wounds and make it more painful for me.
Sent to Artane for mitching school
MY earliest sex education was being forced to watch two younger boys masturbating a Christian Brother.
Then I was forced to beat them before I was fondled by the same Brother.
This happened for five nights with 10 different boys and me looking on every time.
I was never b*****ed but I know two boys who were. I was made to give a number of the Brothers oral sex.
Today I am a gay man but I’ve had problems forming relationships. I still wonder, if my first sexual experiences had been with a woman, would my life have been different.
I think the Brothers at Artane were gay and used the boys for their sexual desires.
We were abused. There’s no excuse for what they did. They violated us – continually.
The beatings were incredible. And the shaming was awful.
In care from 10 after mother died
I ended up at Artane after my mother died. I was heartbroken but sure the Brothers would understand and look after me.
I had a terrible shock. The first time I was caught crying on my second night I was beaten by the Brother in charge.
I wet myself and was beaten more. I cried and had my head pushed into a drawer and was thrashed from behind. He only stopped beating me when I couldn’t cry any more.
We were constantly told we were worthless.
I grew up quickly and realised that the beatings and the sexual abuse would not stop until the day I walked out of the doors forever.
I ran away twice and was brought back by the Guards. The first time I was beaten and had my head shaved. The second time it was worse.
I was told I was an ungrateful, worthless little b*****d. I was told I had no-one who loved me and that I would learn to appreciate the care the Brothers showed me. Then I was beaten again.
In care from six years after mother deemed a violent alcoholic
I HAD suffered violence from my mother and father at home and was glad to get out of the house to be looked after by the Brothers in Artane.
I’d heard they were tough but I thought it had to be better than at home. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I was first raped when I was 12 and I lost count of the times it happened again. Every day was spent trying to avoid being hit, but it was useless.
There was the odd decent enough Brother who tried to keep me from trouble but I’ve since been told the ones I thought were OK were b*****ds to some of the other boys. Maybe they just liked me.
Boys were dragged from their beds at night, we were beaten in full view of other staff and boys and we were sexually abused in front of other boys too.
NOTE: After a three year Garda investigation and a further 7 year legal process, ONE Christian Brother was convicted of indecent assault in Artane.
A life unlived: 35 years of slavery in a Magdalene Laundry
One woman tells the story of her mother who was sent to a Laundry in Dublin at the age of 16 – and died there at the age of 51.
Sep 30 1:00 PM
THE TREATMENT OF women incarcerated in Magdalene Laundries – and the level of State involvement in these Church-run institutions – has been highlighted yet again this month. There was disappointment among survivors and relatives of those kept in the Laundries when it was announced that a State committee’s final report into the matter would be delayed until the end of the year.
To reiterate the urgency of revealing the inter-departmental findings, the Justice for Magdalene advocacy group last week distributed some redacted statements of women detailing their lives in such institutions. (The group claims that there was State involvement in the operation of the Laundries as places to send women considered to be “problem girls”, due to poverty or pregnancy outside marriage for example.)
Samantha Long’s mother Margaret Bullen was placed in Gloucester Street (now Sean McDermott Street) Laundry c.1967 and died 35 years later, never having been released into society and her own home. Margaret died of an illness known as Goodpasture Syndrome, a disease of the kidneys and liver – one of the causes is exposure to industrial-strength chemicals such as those used in the Laundries.
Samantha made a lengthy statement to the interdepartmental committee, led by Senator Martin McAleese, about her mother’s life. Margaret Bullen had a tragic start in life: she was born in a mental institution in Grangegorman, Dublin to a mother who already had six children, Margaret being the youngest. Margaret was sent home to Kimmage to live with her siblings and father, where she remained until she was three years old. At that point, Margaret’s brother was sent to Artane industrial school and Margaret and her sister closest to her in age sent to the notorious High Park industrial school and Laundry in Drumcondra. That, as Samantha says of her mother, “was the end of her and the outside world”.
A second statement sent to Senator McAleese’s committee from a former Laundry inmate who remembers Margaret and her sister recounts how Margaret suffered fits as a young child but that they were ignored by the nuns there (then known as the Sisters of Charity of Refuge, now the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity).
Margaret appears to have been moved in her early teens to a special school called St Teresa’s in Blackrock, after she was certified mentally unfit for education, but fit for work. Her daughter Samantha says in her own statement:
She was assessed at age thirteen as being mentally challenged because on the day that they measured her, they said that she had an IQ of fifty, which I dispute after meeting her, even after all those years of institutionalisation.. And I think that if you’re hungry and tired from your slavery, your IQ wouldn’t be very sharp, or your skills on any given moment mightn’t be sharp. You would be probably just pulled into this room – “now we’re going to measure your IQ” – so even the shock of that wouldn’t, you know, you could shut down.
At roughly the age of 16, Margaret was sent to the Magdalene Laundry at Gloucester Street. The exact time and circumstances of her move there are not clear because Samantha and her sister are still waiting on full records to be supplied to them on their mother’s past.
She became pregnant – twice – with Samantha and her twin sister Etta, and later with another daughter, while officially under the care of the Gloucester Street nuns. The circumstances of these conceptions are again shrouded in mystery but Samantha says her conversations in later life with her mother when they were reunited led her to believe that Margaret had been the victim of sexual abuse and predators several times.
There was no education, no education and I, you know, I honestly believe for a long time she didn’t know how she got pregnant, she just knew that somebody hurt her once and then she had babies. I really believe that. She didn’t make that connection, I know that for sure. She was no, she didn’t have a boyfriend, let’s put it that way. And that’s the politest way that I can say that.
Some of the more harrowing details of Samantha’s testimony recount how her mother was denied society, education, wages and other basic rights for most of her life. This extract recalls Samantha and Etta’s first meeting with Margaret in the Gresham Hotel when they were 23 and had traced her as their biological mother. (Samantha and Etta were adopted by a loving couple in Dublin and later moved to Sligo in childhood.)
Margaret was only 42 at the time but looked much older. She was carrying a handbag but it was completely empty, because she didn’t own anything nor did she have any money. Samantha recalls:
And, she was just lovely, and she was asking extremely innocent questions like, she, it was the first time she ever had coffee and it was very exciting for her to have coffee and she hadn’t seen brown sugar before either and obviously in the Gresham there was brown and white sugar cubes on the table and it was all very fancy to her. And she was just overjoyed to be there and absolutely wowed by everything.
She looked, she looked like a pensioner. I couldn’t believe she was forty-two, I kept looking, I kept looking into her face to find a forty-two year old and I couldn’t, because she had the face of hard work, that face that you see in so many women that have just had to work too hard and have never had a rest and have never had anyone to take care of them or tell them to put their feet up, and who have just, just worked too hard. Because, as I said on the radio a few years ago, this was slavery and I don’t use that term lightly and I’m not an emotive person but slavery is a form of work for which you get no pay and you can’t leave and these were the white slaves of Ireland and they were never emancipated. And nobody stood up for them until now, until you guys (Justice for Magdalenes) did.
Samantha Long was asked by Senator McAleese’s commission what she would like the State to do to redress any wrongs committed against the women in Magdalene Laundries. She answered:
I would like the state to apologise for keeping those young girls behind bars, literally and figuratively. I would like the church and state to apologise for forcing them to do slave labour.I would like the church, the state and society to redress their reputations and apologise for keeping them down, for denying them education, freedom, money, their babies and their lives, all of those things.
And I would like that the circumstances that they find themselves in, through the missing pieces that the rest of us get in life, because they had no education, so how could they make it?
They were sitting ducks, keep them down, keep them unaware of their rights, keep them without money, keep the roof over their head, feed them a little bit, keep them alive, just enough for work. Give them their wages now, give them their wages.
ARTANE: THE REAL TRUTH – This school was a concentration camp for little children where the Brothers destroyed us and nobody gave a damn.
ARTANE: THE REAL TRUTH – This school was a concentration camp for little children where the Brothers destroyed us and nobody gave a damn.
WHEN the Artane Boys’ Band performs before the All-Ireland football final on Sunday it will strike fear into the heart of Michael O’Brien.
The band is a constant reminder of the horrific physical and sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of the industrial school’s Christian Brothers.
And he’s joining other victims asking the band to play a hymn in their honour.
It would be a symbolic gesture for the men whose lives were torn apart by the sickening regime.
But it can never repair the damage that’s been done.
The Pope, the order of Christian Brothers and the government have apologised to the Artane boys.
But for many of the boys who became broken men that isn’t enough.
Now victims are breaking their silence because they want Ireland to know what went on behind closed doors.
Michael is one of hundreds of young boys systematically abused – both sexually and violently – by some of those charged with his care.
Already 270 men have made allegations against 160 Brothers in the biggest child sex abuse investigation Ireland has ever known.
Only now, 30 years after the school was razed to the ground, has Michael O’Brien found the strength to speak out.
JILLY BEATTIE tells his story.
FROM his first day at Artane Industrial School to the moment he left, Michael O’Brien lived in terror every minute of his life.
His tormentor-in-chief was Joseph O’Connor, a Christian Brother so evil Michael can barely speak his name today.
He said: “O’Connor was the most evil, depraved b****** that ever walked this land. I pray to God that he’s rotting in Hell now.
“When he was dying a few years ago, I went to his hospital bedside and watched him for three days and two nights until he died.
“I wanted to see him exhale his last breath. I wanted to know he couldn’t do what he’d done to me again.
“I wanted to see him die. I wanted to see him dead.
“And when his body was removed to the mortuary, I managed to get in and took the sheet off his face. I had to make sure it was him.
“It gave me no relief that he was dead because I couldn’t make him pay for what he did, but I needed to know he was gone.”
At 47, Michael still wakes screaming in the night, sheets saturated in sweat and his own urine.
That is what Artane did to him. That is how deep the harrowing memories of his time under Joe O’Connor’s brutal regime have left their terrible mark on him.
Michael was only five when he was put into the church’s care.
His mother, Bernadette, was labelled unfit after a house fire which killed his baby sister, Marian.
He never saw his mother again.
At first, Michael was looked after with his brother and another sister at the Golden Bridge holding centre in Dublin. Then nuns took care of them at St Kieran’s in Rathdrum.
It wasn’t perfect but he felt safe. At just nine years old, his life changed forever.
He was taken away from his sister and brother and packed off to Artane in the north side of Dublin.
He recalls: “I was one of four of boys who went on the train. We were excited by the journey but we’d no idea where we were going. We were lambs to the slaughter.”
It was at Connolly Station he came face to face with O’Connor for the first time – a man in his early fifties, dressed all in black.
Even though he was an innocent child, Michael knew instantly the Brother was evil.
He said: “There was no smile, no welcome, not even ‘hello’.
“He told us his name and the horror I felt when he spoke to us that first time is still with me.
“I knew the moment I saw him that he was bad – strong, fierce and bad.
“He asked if any of us could sing because he was in charge of the Artane Boys’ Band – he was marking his prey.
The children were young, vulnerable and nobody cared what happened to them. They were orphans, runaways or just schoolboys who had played truant.
Their few possessions were taken away and they were given a number instead of a name.
THEY were the lost boys who had no-one to turn to for help and the Brothers were free to treat them as they liked.
Michael explained: “There wasn’t a week that went past I didn’t suffer some sort of abuse. O’Connor was a monster.
“Artane means many things to me – being beaten, bloody, b******d and bruised.
“It was a concentration camp for children and no-one gave a damn. “The Brothers took our names and gave us numbers. Then they systematically destroyed us.
“It was the closest thing you could get to a concentration camp, except the number wasn’t stamped on our bodies, it was stamped into our brains.
“I wiped that memory a long time ago. I can’t, and don’t want to remember what my number was. But most former Artane boys can. Some of them can’t forget it no matter how they try.
“We were taken to a dormitory where there must have been about 150 beds, row after row.
“A Brother had a separate room inside the dormitory and we were watched over by monitors too, older boys who also later abused us.
“At night the Brother in charge would pace around the dormitory. “You could hear the skirts of his cassocks making a swishing sound as he walked.
“He would pick a boy out, literally drag him from his bed, rape and beat him in his room. Sometimes he would even rape him in the dorm for everyone to hear.
“No-one would open their eyes, no-one would make a sound. We all pretended to sleep through the noise and screams but we all heard what was going on.
“My only consolation was when someone else was getting raped, it wasn’t me.
“Everybody I’ve spoken to since felt the same.
“My heart would bang like mad as the Brother approached my bed. I held my breath. I’d be sure he would hear my heart beating and take me out for making so much noise.
“Like all the boys, I was desperate to be left alone. Then I would feel intense relief and guilt as another boy was dragged screaming from his bed.
IT happened every night for the five years that I was there. It happened every night without fail and there were plenty of times I was the boy who was dragged off.
“We were victims from the moment we walked through those doors. We were beaten, we were battered and we were b******d.
“All the Brothers carried a leather strap which they pummelled us with.
“Some of them inserted bits of metal into the tip and sewed it up to make it harder. One of the Brothers was called The Sheriff because he carried a strap in each pocket and would produce them like two pistols before he thrashed us.
“They used any excuse to beat us. Our shoes and clothes were inspected for wear and tear. We had to hold a boot upside down in each hand and a Brother would go along the line with chalk and circle any wear that needed repair.
“In my first few months I joined a line of about 15 boys who had been singled out because their boots needed work done to them.
“We were paraded into the boot room one at a time – that was where I had my first sexual experience.
“The Brother sat down on a bench and talked quietly to me about the need to take care of my belongings.
“I thought all the talk about them being b******s might be wrong because this fella seemed OK.
“I started talking to him but then he stroked my privates through my trousers. He talked all the while, gently and quietly about the need for consideration, talking about caring for other people. He told me I could come to him at any time with any problem.
“Then he told me told me to go and not to mention what had happened.
“I was the first into the boot room that day. There was a row of boys behind me who probably got the same treatment or worse.
“I walked away confused and upset. I couldn’t understand what had happened, what he meant or what he’d done. I felt ashamed and I didn’t really know why.
“Looking back, I realise the abuse was premeditated and systematic. The Brothers tested the boys for a reaction and picked on the ones who had no parents or family outside the school to turn to. The more vulnerable the boy, the more vicious the abuse.
“The next time the Brother who had touched me in the boot room spoke to me, he told me to go to his room. Then he made me take off my clothes and he tried to arouse me. I was 10 years old.
“I was confused and shocked. I started to cry and he leathered me and told me to stop crying, then he told me to go.
“It was a test to see if I would squeal to anyone about what had happened. He had told me not to talk to anyone about it and I was so terrified and ashamed that I didn’t. I didn’t talk to anyone about it for 30 years.
“Then I was forced to help a Brother commit an act in front of another boy. I was forced to have oral sex and he told me afterwards to rinse my mouth and teeth in cold water.
“Then he grabbed me and screamed at me to pray for forgiveness for tempting him like that. He held me in his arms, he rocked me and hit me and he prayed for forgiveness. “I was just one of 800 boys in there and it was happening all the time. The terror of being called or told to report to a Brother was indescribable. I’ve lived my entire life there with a knot in my stomach.
“One of the brothers hurt me so badly that he ruptured me inside. I was 11 years old.
“The day before he had taken me into his room, made me strip naked and had tied me to his bed with belts. He gagged me and left me there, naked, crying and choking. I was terrified. “I thought I was going to die. I was sure he would come back and kill me. I prayed for help. I prayed to get away. He came back about an hour later, but it felt like he’d been gone for days.
“He untied me, kicked me and told me to get dressed and say nothing to anyone.
“I thought it was a miracle I’d survived. I was happy. But the next day it happened again – only this time it was worse.
“He took me to his room and made me undress, all the while beating me, kicking me, hitting me off the walls and the furniture. “I was screaming but no-one came, no-one helped me.
“That time he bound and gagged me, then tied me face down on his bed and assaulted me.
“It was brutal. The pain was indescribable but I couldn’t scream because I was gagged. “Then suddenly there was blood everywhere. He panicked and tried to clean me up, but shouted and screamed at me for bleeding and making a scene. “He took me down to the infirmary which was run by another Brother who cleaned me up and put me to bed.
“I stayed there for four days until the bleeding stopped. But I was given no medical care. I wasn’t seen by a doctor because he would have wanted to know how the injury happened.
“I have no way to describe the terror I felt during that time and in the hours, days and months afterwards. I find it almost impossible to explain what happened to anyone today.
“The same brother attacked me again shortly afterwards but he’d done so much damage the first time that I bled very quickly again. He was furious and battered me, screaming that I was a worthless little b******, screaming that I’d made him do this.”
After abusing them, the Brothers told the boys it was their own fault and they should pray for forgiveness.
Michael explained: “He yelled that I’d tempted him, that I was an evil little piece of s*** and that I should pray for forgiveness for making him do what he did. He told me it was my fault. I believed him. I prayed for us in the middle of tears and snotters and blood. And was taken down to the infirmary again.
“We were told that we had to ask God for forgiveness for ‘badness’ – the word they used to excuse the rapes – that they blamed us for. We had no one to turn to and we were made to feel guilty for being bad boys and tempting the Brothers.
“These brothers were our guardians, they replaced the parents we had lost or been taken away from. They were meant to look after us, care for us and prepare us for life.
“We needed to be loved and nurtured – instead we were abused and tortured. We were just little boys, we were the human equivalent of blotting paper going into that place – blank sheets with no impressions. And then all that c**p, terror and abuse was imprinted onto us. It left us destroyed bundles of nerves and pain.
“We told no one about what happened. Boys who made confessions to the priest were beaten. We were too frightened to talk about it. We believed we’d be terrorised and we were frightened God would punish us if we were caught talking about it.
“After that I became invisible. I hid inside myself and stopped talking. I thought if I was invisible I wouldn’t get hurt. I was terrified and hiding was my only protection.
“But the abuse continued. I stayed silent, I became compliant. I stopped crying because I worked out that the Brothers would hit you until you stopped crying. I still don’t cry today. I broke down once in counselling a few months ago but that has been it.”
As with many of the boys, Michael started wetting the bed as a result of his trauma – and that meant more punishment and psychological abuse.
He explained: “The stress had to come out somewhere and I started to wet the bed again. I joined the group of boys known as The Slashers, the boys who soiled their sheets.
“We were made to strip our beds every morning and carry the sheets through the school, past hundreds of boys and the Brothers to the laundry rooms.
“We were laughed and shouted at, ridiculed and hit. We were ashamed and frightened. We were separated. We were just a bunch of nobodies who p***** the bed.
“I remember desperately trying to stay awake so I would make it to the loo before I peed the bed. But of course I fell asleep and the shame and terror I felt in the morning when I realised I was lying in wet sheets was awful.
“The abuse – physical, sexual and psychological – was part of every day life at Artane.
“The shock element of it wore off after a few years. As I got older I coped differently with it differently.
“It got to a stage where I would be thankful if I got called in by a Brother who I knew would just want sex.
“The ones who were violent as well as paedophiles were a bigger problem. But Joe Boy always tracked me down. That bastard beat me until I bled, he assaulted me, he rammed my head in a drawer and abused me while he slammed it.
“If a few days went past without anything happening it was brilliant, but I would get anxious because every day that I didn’t get hurt brought me closer to the day that I would.
“It was a way of life for those b*******. One of them even kept a tin of Vaseline in his pouch. In my last couple of years at Artane, the Brothers would give me and the older boys cigarettes as a sort of reward.
“They turned us into prostitutes. I became an expert in pleasing my abusers, we all did. The quicker you got it over with, the sooner they’d let you go.”
Michael said by the time he left Artane years of torment had turned him into an emotional zombie – unable of showing or receiving real affection.
He said: “By the time I was 13 I’d just closed down. It was like flicking a switch to turn off the emotion and at the time I thought it made the sex less of an ordeal.
“But my life has been a festering sore since the day I walked through the doors of Artane, suppurating, weeping and poisoned.
“I left that place with pounds 1 in my pocket and a word of advice from a Brother not to mention anything that had gone on behind the doors.
“I couldn’t read or write. I couldn’t even tell the time. I didn’t understand how men and women had relationships. It seemed ridiculous to me, it was the sort of thing giggled about at school.
“I knew sex was painful, dirty and secret. I knew sex with other men was called ‘badness’ but I didn’t know any other way. I knew that life was about getting hit and being hurt.
“That was the education the Brothers at Artane Industrial School gave me. And I was no different to the thousands of boys who came through the place.”
“Even now I still find myself making excuses for the Brothers who abused me, all of them except Joe Boy, Brother Joe O’Connor. “Because of him I tried to commit suicide twice. I have several failed relationships behind me and years of counselling ahead of me.”
And Michael has never married or had any children of his own.
Today he lives in a smart Dublin Quays apartment where there is little hint of his tortured past until he starts to talk about his school days.
He said: “I kept what happened to me bottled up for 30 years. Like every other Artane boy, I felt terrible shame and blamed myself for what happened.”
But Brother O’Connor’s death triggered so many memories and so much pain in Michael’s life that he tried to kill himself.
Only in the last 16 months has he finally started to talk about the appalling abuse he suffered. Only now is his regret that his two suicide attempts failed beginning to fade.
He said: “Only in the last few months, since I’ve been able to talk about this, has the knot started to loosen.
“I, and possibly thousands of other former Artane boys, will never be free from this. But we have to learn how to live with what was done to us.”
He explained: “The first time I was hugged by someone in a genuine show of affection, I was 36. I didn’t know there was such a thing and today I still find it difficult to have physical contact with anyone. Giving someone a hug takes effort. It feels strange.
“That’s what those b******* did to me. They turned me into a social and emotional mess with no idea of how to sustain a loving relationship.”
Now as Secretary of the Alliance for Healing of Institutional Abuse, Michael is determined to show his abusers to the world.
He wants to make them pay for the terror he experienced during his stay between 1962 and 1967 and thousands of other boys suffered at Artane from the 1940s until the building was razed to the ground in 1969.
He said: “They can never give us back what they took from us – but we need justice. We need more than an apology for the things we suffered. I want to live now. I want a life and I can’t have it unless I get some peace of mind.”
Michael O’Brien can be contacted at the Alliance for Healing of Institutional Abuse on 01-825-2353.